In Paris, Renault electric car batteries have been given a second life on the Seine. They supply electricity to the ‘Black Swan’ electric motorboat, which is used for two-hour excursions in Paris for groups of up to eight people. And, the operator has bigger plans.
This is the prototype for an entire fleet of all-electric motorboats that Renault’s partner, Seine Alliance, is gradually putting into service. By 2024, the river operator plans to electrify its entire fleet. Two battery packs each supply one of the two electric propeller nacelles, so-called pod drives. The nominal output is 10 kW or 20 kW under maximum load. There is no need for an additional outboard motor or a replacement internal combustion engine, as both drives operate independently of each other.
The Black Swan is thus also “pioneer of a new boat generation”, which benefits from the link and synergies between the Renault Group and the battery systems specialist Green-Vision. After the zero-emission motorboat is used for around two-hour excursions, the energy stores are then recharged within two to three hours.
The lithium-ion batteries used initially in Renault electric vehicles were reconfigured for their purpose “at sea”. The repurposed batteries are then housed in four specially manufactured, waterproof Inox cases under the side benches and weigh a total of 278 kilograms – less than the filled fuel tank that the boat was previously using.
Seine Alliance CEO Didier Spade explained: “There are no weight issues, so we can install more batteries to offset the difference in capacity without affecting the boat’s performance. With this in mind, it was only natural for us to partner up with French manufacturer Groupe Renault, an electric vehicle expert committed to the circular economy of its batteries. Green Vision is providing us with technical guidance. This is the first time that three French companies have teamed up to develop a system like this. It’s a real challenge that’s inspiring big ambitions!”
For Renault, this cooperation will open up entirely new possibilities for the use of spent batteries from electric vehicles. As with Renault and partners’ plan for an Advanced Battery Storage system. Renault launched the first large-scale pilot projects for bidirectional charging in Utrecht, the Netherlands, with a project announced on the Portuguese island of Porto Santo.